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Recpes posted in this articleRed Lentil Bolognese
Teriyaki Tofu Rice Noodles
Teriyaki Stir-Frying and Dipping Sauce
Mini Spinach-Mushroom Quiches
As a child growing up in a small Ohio farming community, Beverly Lynn Bennett was raised on a traditional Midwestern diet that included plenty of meat and potatoes — heavy on the meat. Today, she lives in Eugene and is a noted vegan chef and cookbook author who espouses the benefits of a lifestyle free of all animal products.
The author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking,” Bennett has been a vegan for almost two decades, a feat she shares with her co-author and longtime partner, Ray Sammartano. She notes that the cookbook, which hit the bookstands in August and features more than 200 plant-based recipes, is designed to be both animal friendly and palate pleasing.
A vegan diet, Bennett explains, involves the consumption of only plant-based foods — meaning no meat, fish, dairy products, honey or eggs.
“If it was an animal or came from an animal, we (vegans) don’t eat it,” she says. “Plant-based protein is so much better for you and easier to digest. It has fiber, as well as more vitamins and minerals.”
Bennett’s interest in cooking began at the age of 12 when she went to work at a local country club.
“That’s where I learned how to really enjoy food,” she says.
Before long, Bennett realized she didn’t need meat to make delicious meals, and quickly began using substitutions.
“I have four sisters and they were my guinea pigs,” she says regarding her cooking experiments. “They were eating veggie burgers literally like 20 years ago ... and tofu pie.”
After graduating from culinary school at the University of Akron, Bennett became a baker, but rapidly tired of using eggs and other dairy products in the preparation of baked goods. Shortly thereafter, she opened a natural foods restaurant and felt immediately at home.
“I could finally cook just vegetarian food,” she says. “It was fun.”
Bennett went on to work in health food stores (including Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene) and later, with the prompting of her husband, began a vegan chef Web site in 1999 (veganchef.com).
“Ray said I was a blogger before there were blogs,” she says with a laugh. “That’s when I started getting some recognition.”
It was in 2004 when Bennett was contacted by the Idiot’s Guide to write a book about vegan cooking.....